In the field of the forensic clinic, the medical examiner deals mainly with examining victims and perpetrators. These may be the victims and perpetrators of assault, including sexual assault and child abuse. Medical experts may also be called upon in the context of traffic and industrial accidents; for instance. In his expert report, the medical examiner will provide a detailed description of the medical observations, the results of his own findings and/or examination of medical files.
These assignments may be undertaken either in the context of a criminal investigation or in the context of a civil law procedure, in the latter case in the capacity of expert of consultant doctor.
The services in terms of forensic pathology and the forensic clinic are provided by the forensic medicine centre around the clock by means of a duty rota system.
Fields covered in the forensic clinic:
Physical assault (victims and suspects)
The aim of such examinations is to discover the nature and seriousness of the facts (Article 398-400 of Code of Criminal Law). The medical examiner will need to be able to establish the injuries and discover their nature, seriousness and possible consequences. Examinations in cases of child abuse (including battered child, shaken infant, Münchhausen by Proxy, etc.) constitute a special section of the forensic clinic.
In cases of sexual assault, either the public prosecutor when establishing the fact or the examining magistrate will order an ‘examination of the body'. In this examination, apart from noting any injuries, attention focuses on a thorough medical examination, and particularly the search for traces.
The examination in cases of sexual assault can always be undertaken as a matter of urgency via the A&E department at UZ Leuven, Gasthuisberg campus. Use is made here of the ‘sexual assault set' and the ‘Leuven public prosecutor’s office’ protocol. During office hours an urgent examination can take place via the forensic medicine centre. An examination is of course always possible by appointment.
For adults, this examination usually takes place in conjunction with the gynaecology department. Where minors are involved, the paediatrics department is called in.
Assessment of physical injury
Assessment of state of health
(including fitness for interview)